TWO parties in the Global Political Agreement in Zimbabwe would love to win the next election — whenever it might be held.
Arthur Mutambara’s formation of the MDC would not realistically entertain such hopes.
Only the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Zanu PF would expect to thump each other for the big prize.
“Thump” is probably an inappropriate verb.
But in any election in which Zanu PF has been involved since independence, there has been a lot of thumping — mostly by Zanu PF.
Even in the 2008 election, which both President Robert Mugabe and his party were figuratively thumped by the MDC, the former ruling party was held responsible for whatever physical thumping took place during and in the aftermath of that poll.
Incidentally, the “global” in the GPA was assumed to suggest this plan had elements of an international essence, that the political world, in general, wished it well.
But on the ground, this does not seem to be of any relevance whatsoever.
Mugabe has shown his contempt for that part of the world that does not agree with his concept of any solution to the Zimbabwean imbroglio.
He has repeatedly told them to “go to hell”.
This language, which is deliberately designed to incite his supporters against both the MDC and the West, has not helped heal the wounds that have plagued a political settlement.
Most cynics have taken the view that any settlement that doesn’t favour Mugabe and Zanu PF will not win their endorsement — it would be dead in the water.
The difficulties besetting the unity government are symptomatic of the spread of the political gangrene that threatens to choke to death the very likelihood of a solution to the crisis initiated by Mugabe and Zanu PF’s disastrous performance in the 2008 elections.
Even now, Zanu PF refuses to interpret the results for what they were — a rebuff of the party and of Mugabe.
The only way the political blinkers can be removed from their eyes is for the opposition to score a thumping victory against them — without using the violent element of that word.
This is how Unip in Zambia and the Malawi Congress Party in Malawi were forced to capitulate and exit quietly from the political centre stage.
There is no doubt that if both Kenneth Kaunda and Kamuzu Banda had acted with the same obduracy Mugabe is displaying, there would have been much bloodshed in their countries.
Most neutral observers hope that Mugabe and Zanu PF won’t reap the whirlwind by not following the examples set by our former partners in that ill-fated federation, in whose death we were united.
Zanu PF’s platform this time around is likely to be indigenisation and, once more, the land reform programme.
What it can’t possibly disguise is this: without the MDC participation in the unity government, there would have been no rescue of the economy, laid to waste by the corruption and squander-mania of successive Zanu PF governments.
In fact, how Zanu PF can scandalise the MDC formation in the election campaign will not be easy.
Not many voters are likely to buy the fiction that the failure to call off sanctions can be laid squarely on the doorstep of the MDC.
The way Zanu PF has treated Tsvangirai and the MDC respectively has constituted the same “go to hell” response that has been Mugabe’s response to the West.
Why would anyone accommodate an ally so contemptuous of a partner with enough clout to influence events?
In a real free and fair election, Zanu PF’s platform would leak like a sieve.
It cannot but praise the MDC for agreeing to take part in the unity government.
What, in the end, would Zanu PF take credit for?
People are no longer stupid as they were thought to have been before 2000.
After that election — the most disastrous ever for Zanu PF since its formation — they realised Zanu PF was a paper tiger.
It could be defeated and, in 2008, it was defeated.
The myth was broken.
It is Zanu PF which is scared of an election.
It can hear the tolling of the bell in the distance.
This time around, not even the threats of the army and the police not to accept a Zanu PF defeat have cowed the people.
After the 2008 elections, they now know how delicious victory can be.
Nothing can compare with it — except the celebration of it.
Bill Saidi is a veteran Zimbabwean journalist based in Harare.